teens

The mum who paid for her teenager's lip fillers.

To any parent, their child is stunning.

My six-year-old daughter has the most adorable freckles sprinkled across her nose, the most beautiful red hair, the most expressive blue eyes…

But, of course I think that. Love blinds parents to any perceived imperfections in their children. We are the people who, our kids can be sure, will always be bolstering their physical self-esteem.

Until we’re not.

Summer Wilson is 17. She’s gorgeous, and not only to her mum, Lisa.

But Summer hated her mouth. She kept complaining to her mum that she had no top lip, it was making her look weird, and different from her friends.

And eventually, Lisa had to agree.

Listen to Lisa and Summer talking to Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo on This Glorious Mess about what happened next:

Summer decided she wanted to get lip fillers. For someone under the age of 18 to get a cosmetic procedure, they need their parents’ permission.

And, most likely, their credit card.

Lisa says she did try to talk Summer out of it, at first.

“I thought ‘You’re beautiful. You’re perfect the way you are, it’s not necessary to do that.'”. But ultimately, “I had to agree that yes, her lip was a lot smaller than she would like.

“I think she’s perfect, but really what matters is how Summer feels.”

And so she agreed.

I cannot imagine ever making that decision. I cannot imagine ever telling my daughter that she needed to “fix” something about her self. I can’t imagine thinking that it’s a good message to teach my daughter that she should change her physical appearance, rather than learn to accept it.

Summer's lips[/img_caption]

But, if there's one lesson that parenting teaches you, it's that YOU KNOW NOTHING.

Raising children is an ongoing exercise in adjusting your expectations. Things you vow you will NEVER do with your baby - feed them packaged food, let them play with the iPad, have them sleep in your bed - you learn to let go.

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And as a parent of small kids, the teenage years are still a foreign land to me. I want to believe I would preach self-acceptance and more cerebral priorities to my daughter if she came to me with Summer's concerns, but seriously, if my daughter was desperately unhappy about something that was in my power to change, would I stick by my principles? I really don't know yet.

Summer says she was being teased about her face: "They'd say 'she doesn't even have a top lip'. and that hurt"

Yes, kids have teased and been teased for millennia, but "toughen up" is advice that only goes so far.

Lisa and Summer appeared on Insight to discuss their decision.

Teenagers are growing up in a very different space than I did. A place where the bullies follow you home and invade your life from all corners. A place where they are bombarded with images of perfection every time they glance down at their phones, an age when appearing picture-perfect on Instagram seems like an attainable way to succeed.

As Summer told us, "I do think that society has influenced me... You see celebrities getting it done and that did encourage me, but mostly, I did it for myself."

And now, Summer is influencing her own circle: "My friends say 'Wow, Summer, that looks really natural and nice' and they've been a little bit encouraged to do it themselves."

Can we really blame teen insecurities on Kylie Jenner?

So, while I can nurse my indignation about the endless pursuit of physical perfection that women - at any age, with any amount of filler - will never, ever attain, I can't judge Lisa Wilson for being a poor parent.

Because she clearly is not:

"I try as a mother to stay in touch with what both my children are feeling and be open and easy to talk to about what their concerns are," says Lisa. "So if it was really important to her, it was important to me"

"It wasn't a hard decision but it was important to summer so it was really important to me in the end."

What a monster.

The full episode of This Glorious Mess is here: 

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